Biodegradation of Hazardous Materials by Clostridia

Authored by: Farrukh Ahmad , Joseph B. Hughes , George N. Bennett

Handbook on Clostridia

Print publication date:  March  2005
Online publication date:  March  2005

Print ISBN: 9780849316180
eBook ISBN: 9780203489819
Adobe ISBN:


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The metabolic diversity of clostridial organisms has been the subject of many reviews and is covered elsewhere in this series. Clostridia are generally classified as Gram-positive endospore-forming obligate anaerobes that are incapable of the dissimilatory reduction of sulfate [13]. With close to 100 species [2,3], the genus Clostridium is one of the largest genera among prokaryotes [1]. Clostridia are ubiquitous in nature due to their fermentative diversity and due to their ability to form resistant spores [4,5]. They have been isolated from soils, decomposing biological materials, and from the lower gut of mammals. In addition, they have been widely studied because some proteolytic species (e.g., C. tetani) produce strong toxins and because other species (e.g., C. acetobutylicum) are of industrial importance due to their solvent-producing ability. Clostridia are known to possess strong “nitroreductase” properties that have been extensively investigated [612]. Clostridia have been isolated from an anaerobic consortium that was used to transform nitroaromatic compounds in the presence of a suitable carbohydrate carbon source [13,14]. Therefore, saccharolytic clostridia, typically nonpathogenic organisms, are especially well suited for the study of biotransformations of TNT in anaerobic engineered systems.

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